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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 21:39 GMT 22:39 UK
Photos of Saddam sons released
Images of Uday and Qusay Hussein from a CD-Rom released by the US in Baghdad
The CD-Rom included photos of the brothers alive
The United States has released graphic photographs of what it says are the dead bodies of Saddam Hussein's two sons Uday and Qusay.

The US says its troops killed the much-feared brothers in a raid on a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, but many Iraqis insisted on proof that they are dead.

The US had hoped that the death of Uday and Qusay would bring an end to attacks on US soldiers, but five have been killed in three separate incidents since Tuesday.

There had been intense debate in Washington over releasing the photos of Uday and Qusay, as the US does not usually publish pictures of dead combatants.

As far as I am concerned we have found two WMD's and eliminated them
Tim Hutchings, USA

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, said the pictures had been released because the "Iraqi people have been waiting for confirmation and in my view they deserve that confirmation".

The BBC's Paul Wood in Baghdad says that after the pictures were shown on Arabic satellite television channels there, cars could be heard honking their horns and there was a sustained burst of gunfire.

He says the pictures certainly resemble the two brothers, although the bodies are in something of a battered state.

Doubt

Iraqis began to express doubt about the photos within an hour of their being released, the Associated Press news agency reported from Baghdad.

Images which the US says show Saddam Hussein's sons are dead. (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)

"I'm not convinced the pictures are of Uday and Qusay," accountant Shant Agob, 37, told the agency after seeing the pictures on CNN.

"Even if they are, I'm not happy. I would have been happy if they were captured alive and brought to justice before the Iraqi people," he said.

Other Iraqis also were sceptical, from barbers to a former head of Iraqi military intelligence who defected to the opposition.

But several people in Baghdad told the BBC they were convinced by the pictures.

Meanwhile, CIA analysis has concluded that an audio tape of a speaker who says he is Saddam Hussein urging Iraqis to fight the Americans is probably authentic.

The tape - which was broadcast on al-Arabiya TV on Wednesday - is dated 20 July, two days before Uday and Qusay were killed.

The CIA has not verified the date the recording was made, unnamed US officials told news agencies.

Body bag

The photos were released on a CD-Rom that included two pictures of each brother, plus images of them when they were alive and X-ray slides.

One photograph appears to show Qusay lying in a plastic body bag that has been opened at the top.

I'm not convinced the pictures are of Uday and Qusay
Shant Agob,
accountant
He has a heavy beard, either as a disguise or because he was on the run, and his face is heavily bloodied, our correspondent says.

The photograph of Uday shows a similarly bearded man with a scar or discolouration running along his face - which might support some coalition claims that he tried to take his own life or did take his own life rather than be captured.

The US has historically been reluctant to release photos of people killed in combat.

It criticised Arabic television station al-Jazeera for showing images of dead American soldiers during the war in the spring.

The BBC's Nick Bryant in Washington says some generals at the Pentagon found the release of the pictures on Thursday to be "repugnant".

But, he says, the political imperative to show that Uday and Qusay are dead overrode the military's concerns.

Mr Rumsfeld said it was "absolutely the correct decision", calling the dead men "particularly vicious individuals".

Members of Iraq's Governing Council saw the bodies at Baghdad airport shortly before the photographs were released to news agencies.

Members of the council said they were certain the bodies were those of Saddam's sons.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"The photographs were shown at length"




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